Can changing your diet improve mental health problems?
Scientific evidence demonstrates that a good diet could improve depression and anxiety
Deborah states that there is scientific evidence that diet can influence mental health, improving conditions such as depression and anxiety. Many people lack the key essential fatty acid omega-3 which is a key component of the brain. Along with omega-3, deficiencies of vitamin D are very common and both of these nutrients are highly anti-inflammatory.
Inflammation is caused by excessive sugar and carbohydrates
A clear link has emerged between raised levels of inflammation and mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. Many other nutrients are also key to good mental health, including: magnesium, zinc and many B vitamins. The role of the microbiome (the gut bacteria) is also important. We now understand that there is a constant two-way communication between gut and brain which influences mood and anxiety.
Another key dietary factor is the excessive intake of sugar and refined carbohydrates in most people’s diets. Not only does this raise inflammation, but it contributes to blood sugar fluctuations that deplete the body and brain of key nutrients. Many of the so-called ‘healthy’ and ‘diet’ foods are actually loaded with sugar.
A healthy diet is increasingly important in psychiatric treatment plans
Dr Dimitrios Paschos, Consultant Psychiatrist at Re:Cognition Health, agrees that good nutrition can optimise brain health. He points out that both elements can work together as part of a treatment plan.
Dr Paschos comments: “Good nutrition supports good brain health, but is not single handedly responsible for its health. The brain is very complex and we understand so little about it; but we do know that many factors work together to achieve optimum brain health and performance.”
There is a link with Irritable Bowel Syndrome and anxiety and depression says Dr Paschos, “There is evidence to suggest that individuals with these symptoms may benefit from probiotics, so it may be beneficial for those affected to try adding them to their diet, to complement the treatment plan.”
Dr Paschos stresses that no changes should be made to medication or treatment plans without consulting your doctor.